116.46 million litres fuel lost in 2021, say NNPC reports

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Group Managing Director of NNPC Mele KyariA total of 116.46 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, valued at N18.88bn was stolen in 2021, data from different reports obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited showed.

Figures contained in various NNPC reports on Product Pipeline Performance for PMS showed that from January 2021 till December last year, huge volumes of petrol imported into Nigeria by the national oil company did not get to their targeted destinations.

The products were lost through four pipeline segments including Atlas Cove-Mosimi and Atlas Cove-Idimu-Satellite, Mosimi-Ibadan, Ibadan-Ilorin and Port Harcourt-Aba.

For the month of January 2021, a total of 6.371 million litres of petrol was lost through three pipeline segment, excluding that of Port Harcourt-Aba, as there was no pumping operation on the line in January.

The ex-depot price of petrol, according to the sole importer of the commodity, NNPC, was N143.17/litre. This implies that the worth of petrol stolen in January 2021 was N943.92m.

In the months of February, March and April 2021, the oil firm lost 5.317 million litres, 5.722 million litres and 7.366 million litres of petrol, valued at N787.88m, N855.28m and N1.09bn respectively.

In May, June and July 2021, NNPC lost 14.157 million litres, 10.585 million litres and 9.329 million litres of petrol respectively.

The values were N2.1bn, N1.57bn and N1.38bn for May, June and July respectively.

The losses continued in August, as 8.583 million litres of PMS valued at N1.27bn was stolen; September, 13.92 million litres worth N2.06bn was diverted; and in October, 14.075 million litres valued at N3.31bn was lost.

In the months of November and December 2021, the volumes of stolen petrol were 5.953 million litres and 15.085 million litres, respectively.

The NNPC put the value of petrol lost in November at N1.283bn, while that of December was worth N2.24bn.

A summation of the total volumes of PMS stolen during the 12-month period showed that the oil firm lost 116.46 million litres of petrol valued at N18.88bn.

NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for about four years running. Other marketers of the commodity stopped importing petrol due to the hassles in obtaining foreign exchange for its import.

Also, the inability of the Federal Government to deregulate PMS has made marketers shun its imports, leaving NNPC to continue in the provision of petrol.

The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Clement Isong, stated that if petrol was deregulated like other products, there would be no incentive for its theft and smuggling.

He told our correspondent that claims by some Nigerians that the deregulation of PMS would cause a hike in the cost of transportation were untenable, stressing that the country was losing billions by regulating the pump price of petrol.

Isong stated that the Federal Government through the defunct Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, deregulated diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel as well as cooking gas but left out petrol.

“Now you’re saying that if you deregulate petrol the price will go up. Yes, it will. But the price of everything else went up, so why is petrol different?” he asked.

He added, “You say it will increase the cost of transportation if it goes up. But in the last five years, the cost of transportation has gone up by about 253 per cent, whereas petrol prices have almost remained at similar rates.

“The prices of petroleum products have been going up everywhere, but why do we in Nigeria think that it shouldn’t go up in our country? Everything else is allowed to go up, except only this one.”

Isong stated that only a total deregulation of the downstream oil sector would solve the petroleum products’ crisis being faced in Nigeria.

“The truth is that we simply need to wean the country of petrol subsidy. In all the countries around us in West Africa there is no subsidy.”

This, he said, had contributed to the smuggling of PMS out of Nigeria to neighbouring nations, adding that some of the smuggled products could be among those stolen from NNPC.

The MOMAN official said, “For as long as the international prices continue to rise and we keep our own prices where they are, what will happen is that those countries will suck the products out of Nigeria and you simply will not find the product in Nigeria.”

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